Monday, June 3, 2013

It's A Fact: ADD and Depression

Do you remember these short Kids In The Hall sketches?  The ones with the adorable red headed girl who runs up to the camera and tells us "It's a fact!" then goes on to reveal something silly.

This is my favorite one:

Kids In The Hall _ Fact 3 by hulu

So, I thought I'd try it myself:

Okay, it's not quite as funny as KITH, I admit, but you do get to see me without make-up, with a wet head, bare feet and jiggling through my living room.

I found that statistic on my go-to site for all things ADD, ADDitude.  The reason I went to ADDitude to look up ADD and depression is because, friends, I have sunk in a hole.  I'm resurfacing, so don't worry.  But this happens a lot to folks like me when one stressful thing piles on top of another worrisome thing piles on top of another bit of bad news.  But that's not the worst of it.  That is simply the external workings.  The situations we can't avoid, which in my case included my dad's diverticulitis, my family's out-of-control schedule, and the possible demise of my Shiny Object School project (more on that soon).  What then happened occurred only inside the dark chambers of my brain.  I began doubting my decision to write and not work, to earn an MFA in writing, to succeed at this writing life.  I began looking for work and applying for a few positions, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but it does shoot this whole "I'm going to try to write for a career" thing in the big toe.

Soon, my head was swarming with nasty furies, all yelling at me to get a job and get off of their lawn.  I could actually feel them buzzing in between my ears.  It felt like my brain was inflamed.  Perhaps it was.

It's a fact!  Folks with ADD tend to get overwhelmed with decisions (should we just knock down the damn garage?) then paralyzed by the details, which quickly spin out of control (how on earth can we afford to knock it down and rebuild?  I need to get a job so we can afford to knock it down and rebuild!  I don't think I want to teach adjunct right now, because it's so time-intensive and exhausting!  Maybe I could really delve into querying editors and pitching?  Oh my god, I need to make money now!  I have almost two master's degrees and am unhireable!).  Thud.  That's me hitting a wall.

Fortunately, my husband with ADD doesn't struggle with anxiety and depression.  He doesn't spin downward like I do -- and frankly, this hasn't happened in a year -- ONE WHOLE YEAR! -- so I'm doing considerably better!  He has other issues, but that's for him to write about in his own blog.  Fortunately, he gets my feelings of inadequacy, doubt, and being overwhelmed without dwelling in them himself.  So he talked me through it and hugged me.  My friend Cari suggested I create a mental garbage can to toss the negative thoughts.  I remembered I had a bottle of Wellbutrin and took one this morning.  Take that stupid depression.  I'm tossing you in a garbage can and erasing you with medication!

I do take solace knowing that this is something with which a lot of adults with ADD struggle.  I take comfort knowing that I am surrounded by friends and family who care.  I am humbled by success and motivated by rejection.  And I turn to resources, like my friend Julie's post on She Writes - a post that I'm going to bookmark to remind myself that choosing a writer's life is not easy, it doesn't make sense to most people who are bankers and lawyers and doctors (unless they write on the side!), and that I'm not doing it to make big bucks.


  1. Hang in there! Totally going through something similar. I have for the most part put writing on the back burner while I do other things like earn money/gestate human beings, etc. So I just kind of feel like I'm doing everything badly and not writing to boot. Give yourself a break because it's really hard to pour so much of yourself into your writing when more often than not you get nothing to show for it. (Even the most unfulfilling jobs pay you once in a while!) Just the fact that you are still doing it is awesome!

    1. Thank you, Kristin. You have cause to feel frustrated. Housing another human is very frustrating! When I was in month 8 with my second (and last) child, I thought I was going to chew off an appendage I was so antsy and hormonal. I do appreciate your pat on the back, though. I don't often feel like I'm doing anything because I'm so damn distracted! This blog post took all morning!

      Take care. Let the world know when that baby arrives. I'm good for babysitting if ever you need a break.

  2. First of all, let me get this out there - you Vlogged! That amazing!

    Second of all, we should go have long coffee sometime. I'm on the job hunt and will send to you everything I find. But let's talk Reading Specialist Certification and I'm also convinced that you need to join Hubpages and start a Hub about ADD (it pays!). Hang in there, Dorothy. We love you!

    1. Does that really count as vlogging? It's a blip! It also took me all. freakin'. morning. to get it posted! Cripes! Thank you for being impressed with my low-fi, jiggly video, however.

      Yes, long coffee. Somewhere that is easy to find! I didn't want to burden you with my emotional turmoil for half and hour yesterday. Thanks for sharing leads. I don't know what the eff I'm doing!

      Love you back, Dorothy.

  3. I'm just always so relieved I'm not on this writing journey alone and that others go through feelings of self-doubt too. A fact (speaking of which) I've learned about me is sometimes I need to release the pressure to write, write something important, significant, that readers MUST read and that will propel me into the writing hall of fame. Fact: sometimes, I just have to feed my soul. For me, that can be being outside, reading, sitting in a coffee shop, but just feed myself, artistically.

    Everyone has to find their way through it I guess.

    Writing is so unlike any other job (maybe like being an artist or musician). It's a lot of work for little financial or personal recognition-- so easy to lose the "why" focus.

    I've never seen the red-haired girl before and your take on it was funny and poignant. You're adorable.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I feel like I'm in good company knowing you, Kate, Kristin, Anna, and a host of other writers are walking the same path.

  4. Amy, oh how I understand! As I near graduation I am at times cursing myself for thinking I could EVER make any money writing. But I actually am making some...we should talk. I'm teaching as well, true, but I am making more money than I thought I could (not lots of course). It depends on how much time you have to devote to it.

    We'll chat! :-)

    Your writing is lovely and funny, as are you! I will see you in Ireland, won't I?

  5. Amy,

    First of all let me say how funny and lovely your writing is!

    I totally get what you mean about writing and making money. Actually, I am managing to make a little nowadays. We should talk. It depends on how much time you are able to spend writing how much you can make. My kids are grown, so I have more time. But I also teach...

    Will I see you in Ireland? If so, let's talk and dance a jig, shall we?

    1. Thanks for both of your comments, Drema. Yes, I'll be in Ireland. Looking forward to it. I'd love love love to chat with you about the writing life. Let's make a date!


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